A yard of fabric is 3 feet long or 90 centimeters. While sewing or quilting, measurements of fabric are commonly stated in yards rather than meters, centimeters or feet.

Upon purchase, the length of the fabric will remain in this standard size but the width which we measured in inches, will vary from store to store.

During measurement, there is a term referred to as usable widths. As all the fabrics are not made from one material, different fabrics contain different widths capabilities as others stretch to a wider extent than others.

A good example is cotton versus silk. This means that this usable width will provide an allowance of 1 or 2 inches from the real width of the fabric. Against the standard 3 feet length of the yard of the fabric.

Traditionally, the size of a yard of fabric was measured using body parts. The distance from underneath your chin to the end of your arms while fully stretched, amounted to the full measure of one yard. 

How Much Does a Yard of Fabric Cost?

The cost of a yard of fabric depends on some factors which make the pricing variable. These factors include:

  • Linear yards vs. square yards – This means that that the width measurement may be greater than the normal width of 36 inches.
  • Generic fabric – making it cost less. Even though it cost less, it could mean that the quality of the fabric is not up to standard.
  • Quantity of sale – Purchases made by bolt are cheaper due to discounts or a low base price. On the other hand, cut yardage. These types are considered designer hence highly priced.
  • Type of material – Depending on the type of material you will be purchasing, the price could be different. Lace material used for drapery could cost you $100 to $150 per yard and may only work with certain sewing machines designed for quilting. While the linen material could cost you over $300 per yard. 

Regardless of these factors, the average price of a yard of fabric ranges from $15 to $50. Higher priced fabrics that could cost from $350 to even $1000, are ordered and shipped as they are considered to be ultra quality hence more expensive.

Such expensive fabrics are also measured customary to the client’s order as they are too pricey to be sold in the open market. Pre-cut fabrics are an economical choice as they could go for as low as $12.95 per yard with the chance of a drop in prices if you consider buying in bulk.

The general rule usually states that better fabrics cost more and vice versa. It may not be completely true due to generics but also depends on the type of fabric you buy and the state you live in. Where you buy as well could have competitive prices such as Amazon, therefore, giving you the best prices available in the market. 

How Much is a Yard of Fabric in Quilting?

When buying fabric, the first step is to measure and cut a yard from a bolt. The standard measure would be 3 feet long and 36 inches wide. That is under the USA customary measure system. 

Internationally, however, this size equates to 0.9 meters or 90 centimeters and 37 inches which is now referred to as a cloth yard or a cubic yard. The bolt from which a yard is unrolled from is a piece of cardboard. It measures between 42 and 44 inches with a maximum 44 inches of quilting fabric.

Any yard measurements done from the bolt will be measured from selvedge to selvedge. In lay man’s terms, this just means side to side. You are not assured of the perfect width from the selvedge-cut as some cuts are not done straight and could however affect the real measure of a yard.

That is why there is the usable width. Where the cut is made a little on the higher side to allow for the real width to be used. The usable width can however also be used as the real width. A yard of fabric can be used to make pre-cuts for the quilt as you go technique. The measurements will now be referred to as half yards, quarters or eighths.


The size of a yard of fabric is important in quilting. Whether you are a novice or you have been in the industry for a while. The proper measurement comes in handy when you will be doing upholstery or drapery works.